Obaseki Seeks Int’l Partners’ Support To Strengthen Impact Of Agric Programmes

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has urged international donors to support the government in executing sustainable agricultural programmes to check food security.

The governor made the call during a courtesy visit by the Joint Mission of the Federal Government of Nigeria, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) led by the IFAD Country Programme Manager, Dr. Patrick Habamenshiin, at the Government House in Benin City.

While commending IFAD on its impactful role across Africa, Obaseki said the assistance provided by the Fund can help leapfrog systems and institutions in Nigeria and Edo State.

He noted, “We have failed to create the real market for agricultural produce, economic culture, subsidizing agricultural produce and mixed pricing of exchange rate. These are some of the fundamental macro economic issues, which is not taking us anywhere. Agricultural business is a serious business in the country. Some of the macro economic situations are changing.

“As a government, our focus is how to be serious and help address the challenges. 50 to 60 years ago, our communities, society, and the economy were driven by agriculture. Commodity boards, farm institutions were well-organized, and people had a culture, but not anymore.”

Obaseki said, “As a governor for five years, I have not really seen the impact as I try to measure the impact by asking what has really changed? Agricultural Development Programme (ADP) Office carry a lot of signboards with all sorts of assisted programmes but yet no much impact or difference has been made in agricultural production and output. This is the major challenge, amongst other problems.

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“Some assistance you are providing is to help us re-enact agriculture again because that is the only thing that can sustain us. Maybe the young ones don’t want to go into agriculture but technology has made things easy. Working together, we would like to deal with serious issues.”

“As you will not solve all our problems for us but help and assist us to accelerate our development and look at specific areas and be clear on the expectations and deliverables.

“Some of our institutions are so weak. That is why you can’t implement some of the programmes. We should look at how to strengthen some of these institutions to take advantage of what you are bringing to the table,” he added.

The IFAD Country Programme Manager in Nigeria, Dr. Patrick Habamenshi said the delegation are in Edo State to carry out an implementation support mission, focusing on the state as it has one of the most dynamic programmes in Nigeria.

He commended Governor Obaseki for the counterpart funding he made to the programme which contributed to the success of the programme, noting, “We understand that the programme needs to get aligned with the strategy of the state government and we can’t implement a programme in the state that is disconnected from what the state government is trying to achieve.

“We would work with your team to see how to remodel and make the programme have its developmental objectives aligned to yours.”

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